Arriving at my library just in time for April showers is April Pulley Sayre’s new poetical picture book, Raindrops Roll. This book is illustrated with gorgeous photographs by the author of the natural world with rain, before, during and after.
“Rain is coming./ You can feel it/ in the air,” begins Sayre’s poem. A drowsy looking frog peers at the reader from its perch on a leaf as the sky darkens behind it. Sayre continues by telling and showing insects protecting themselves from the rain and other creatures standing out in the storm. “Raindrops settle./ They slip./ They dot./ They drip.” These lines accompany images of raindrops sparkling on foliage. The poem ends with sunlight beginning to shine, and the raindrops beginning to dry up.
“Raindrops Roll” will be a perfect read-aloud, especially with my young group. The combination of the gentle language with the stunning, detailed photographs is very evocative, and is sure to conjure images in readers’ and listeners’ minds. The action words, “plops,” “drops,” “patters,” and “spatters,” all in the present tense, lend the poem immediacy. Rhyming words create a lively rhythm that will appeal to a variety of readers and listeners. Rain is something with which all children are familiar, but the photographs show a side of the rainstorm that most have probably never seen. They show vivid details of the water droplets and the creatures encompassed by the storm. With the deceptively simple verbal cues, readers and listeners can learn something new about something as familiar was a rainstorm.
The visual arrangement of the poem is very pleasing. With only a few words per page, readers and listeners can thoughtfully digest the poem as they go, while also taking in the artwork. The words are considerately placed on the page in clear, white letters that stand out against the darker background. Backmatter for the book gives details about the science of rain in technical, but easy to understand language. It also includes a link to the author’s website and a list of further reading resources.
I am already planning to share this book with my toddler group, with whom I share poetry on the first Wednesday of every month. The poem is brief enough to keep their attention, and the photographs are colorful and detailed enough to make them want to look closer. As a follow-up activity, we could create some rain droplets of our own, using a variety of materials such as string, yarn, ribbon, or even some artificial leaves. We can look and touch and experience the different kind of water droplets that form.